Sunday, October 14, 2012

Apple Pie with Pecan Crumble

Well, I must admit there hasn't been too much exciting cooking going on here recently. Part of last week and weekend, we were in Atlanta for the wedding of two great friends. It was our first time in the South and we loved it! Of course we had to sample the local cuisine - some favorites included dinner at South City Kitchen where we had an appetizer of fried green tomatoes that were enrobed in goat cheese before frying...oh my goodness I could have eaten them for my whole meal! 

Fried green tomatoes...excuse the camera phone photo

Anyway, Atlanta was so much fun but we were tired and jet lagged for most of this past week, so motivation for cooking was pretty low. I've finally gotten back into the swing of things this weekend, and experimented with a new pie recipe today! It's a twist on classic apple pie, incorporating pecans into the crust and the crumble topping. The pecans add a rich, nutty flavor, and a little bit of crunch to contrast with the sweet apples. 

This post and recipe is dedicated to my wonderful parents who got me a BEAUTIFUL new camera for my birthday, which I used for the first time for this post! Thanks mom and dad : )

Apple Pie with Pecan Crumble
For the crust:
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

For the filling:
4 tart apples, peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch (or so) pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup flour
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

For the crumble topping:
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the crust, combine all ingredients except the butter in a large bowl. The butter should be very cold - I usually freeze it and take it out just 15-20 minutes before I'm ready to use it. Cut the butter into small cubes and using your hands or a pastry cutter, incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly, with the crumbs being pea-sized or slightly larger. Drizzle in just a tiny bit of cold water - start out with a tablespoon and add more as needed - to help bind the dough together. The dough should be slightly moist but not sticky - if it gets sticky, just add a sprinkle of flour. Form the dough into a ball, then press it down so it's about 1 inch thick. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.

While the dough is chilling, you can get to work on the filling and topping! In a large bowl, combine the peeled and chopped apples with the brown sugar, lemon juice, flour, and spices. Yep, that's all there is to the filling - so easy!

For the crumble topping, use basically the same technique as the crust. Cube the cold butter and combine it with the dry ingredients until it's well incorporated and forms small clumps. Set it aside for later!

Finally, take your crust out of the refrigerator and roll it out. It's a bit prone to cracking, I think because of the texture of the pecans, but it's ok! Just smooth out the cracks and no one will notice. Press the crust into a pie pan, fill it with the apple mixture, and then top it off with the crumble. 

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40-50 minutes, or until it is bubbling and golden brown. Let it cool for at least an hour before serving. It's the perfect fall dessert!

Here's Poppy, lounging in an Anthropologie box that she has claimed as her new bed. It's filled with tissue paper and she just loves it...oh so comfortable and cozy!

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